Indian Reconnaissance Regiments
Though the Indian Army usually followed British practices, they would often have their own variation on it. The Indian Reconnaissance Regiments had arrived in North Africa as recently reorganised motorised cavalry units, having only been converted from horse-mounted cavalry.
After being assigned the role of divisional cavalry to the Indian
Divisions, they so found their organisation unsuitable for their
reconnaissance role. They began to convert to the more standard
divisional cavalry organisation with the addition of light tanks and
tracked carriers or Indian pattern wheeled carriers with limited levels
When the war moved to Italy the Indian divisions
joined the fight there and set about reorganising to a new structure
based on the British divisional Reconnaissance Regiment pattern.
However, the structure of the British units was not completely followed.
The Indian regiments had just six armoured cars in each squadron, two
in the HQ and four in a single troop. They also only got just eight Universal Carrier
in two troops of four vehicles. A fourth troop was fielded mounted in
Jeeps and the final troop was a rifle platoon organised much like a
British motor platoon mounted in White Scout cars.
Three regiments were used in Italy with the Indian Divisions.
The Reconnaissance Regiment of the 4th Indian
Division was the Central Indian Horse, though they sometime fought with
the 8th Indian Division was well. The 4th Indian Division then moved to
Italy in January 1944. They fought during the second and third Battles
of Monte Cassino. It then took part in the advance from Cassino after
the fourth battle in May 1944 to the Trasimene Line in Central Italy and
then the Gothic Line. In November 1944 the division was shipped to
Greece to help stabilise the country after the Axis withdrawal.
|Attached to the 8th Indian Division as their Reconnaissance Regiment was the 6th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers (Watson’s Horse). After fighting in Iraq with the 6th Indian Division in 1943 the 6th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers (Watson’s Horse) returned to the 8th Indian Division for operations in Italy. They were re-equipped as a new Reconnaissance Regiment and landed in Italy in October 1943. They fought their way north. The regiment was engaged in a number of actions, most notably the Second Battle of Cassino, Monte Moro, crossing of the Rivers Po and Adige and the race to Venice. The Italian campaign ended on 2 May 1945 and the regiment returned to India in June.
|During the Italy campaign the 1st Duke of York’s Own Skinner’s Horse served as the Reconnaissance Regiment of the 10th Indian Division. The 10th Indian Division was sent to Italy March 1944 to join Eighth Army on the Adriatic front. The division fought numerous mountain battles and river crossings followed with Operation Olive on the Gothic Line and then the spring 1945 offensive. Security tasks on the Yugoslav border around Trieste completed the division’s war service.
Fielding an Indian Recce Squadron in Flames Of War
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Last Updated On Thursday, August 21, 2014 by Wayne at Battlefront